16 May 2007

On Buses and Baseball

Cities are noisy places, and no one who lives in a densely-populated urban area can honestly have much expectation of enjoying the kind of quiet environment found in a small town or suburban setting. Still, in the nine months I've lived in my current apartment, I've been continually surprised by just how loud things can get. We knew, of course, that by moving into a building facing a busy commercial district we'd encounter our share of street noise wafting up to the fifth floor. And considering the very modest rent we're paying for the sublet here, it was a tradeoff we willingly made.

There are two city bus routes that run right by our building, and the buses contribute significantly to the volume level around here. But until this morning, I never thought to check just how many buses we were hearing every day. It sure seemed like a lot, I thought, but was I just being overly sensitive to the noise? So out of curiosity, I spent a few minutes earlier today looking at the schedules for the B61 and B43 routes over at the MTA website, and counted the number of buses on the schedule that run by our place. And the numbers were pretty remarkable -- it turns out that a city bus passes directly in front of our apartment 434 times each weekday. Of this number, fully 374 pass by between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM (since they run much less frequently at night) -- a rate of one every 2.5 minutes. That's a lot of buses. I guess it wasn't just me, after all.

On a completely unrelated note, Kate and I took the train up to see the Mets on Saturday and again on Monday. It'd been a while since I'd been to a game at Shea (at least since May 1994, as far as I'm able to tell), and we had a great time at both games (at the latter, we split scorekeeping duties -- I kept score for the home team, Kate for the Cubbies). I've always loved baseball, and I still get a kick out of going to a big league game.

That said, overall I prefer the more intimate setting (not to mention the cheaper tickets) that minor league ball offers. Now that I think about it, actually, I really miss seeing my Kernels up in Cedar Rapids. From 1997 through 2004 I had season tickets in the first row behind the home dugout, and probably went to 300 games. Maybe more. Over the years I got to see dozens of players who subsequently went on to enjoy significant success in the big leagues, including Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, Miguel Cabrera, Jason Bay, Prince Fielder, and Joe Mauer. And those were just the visiting players. I have, of course, also been to games at Coney Island and Staten Island, both of which are great places to watch baseball. But since these teams play in a short-season league, opening day is still more than a month off. I guess I'll have to make do with the Mets for now (or head out to minor league games in Connecticut or Jersey). Anyway, I've included below a (crudely stitched-together) panorama of Shea Stadium, taken last Saturday from our seats in the last row of the upper deck.

And no, I haven't run lately. But I did complete a chapter draft this week, so that's something.

shea stadium 1